The Athletics just added Grant Balfour to help strengthen their bullpen yesterday, but it appears that they aren’t done yet. Major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that the club is also pushing to sign Brian Fuentes.
Fuentes, 35, posted a 2.81 ERA and 47/20 K/BB ratio over 48 innings between the Angels and Twins last season. He held left-handed batters to a .128/.222/.149 batting line in 58 plate appearances last season and hasn’t given up a home run to a left-handed batter since the 2008 season. Fuentes, a California native, qualified as a Type B free agent this winter, but wasn’t offered arbitration by the Twins.
Rosenthal hears that Fuentes will likely command a two-year deal in the range of $12 million. He’s also drawing strong interest from the Blue Jays, who would likely give him an opportunity to win the ninth-inning gig, as opposed to Oakland, where Andrew Bailey is an established and elite closer.
The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.
With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.
Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.